Explore the Family Name Ortega

The meaning of Ortega

1. Spanish: habitational name from any of several places in Spain named Ortega, from ortiga ‘nettle’ (from Latin urtica). 2. Spanish: possibly also a nickname from ortega ‘(female) black grouse’, a word derived from Greek ortyx ‘quail’. 3. In some cases possibly also southern French: topographic name of Old Occitan origin, a cognate of 1 above. Some characteristic forenames: Spanish Jose, Juan, Manuel, Carlos, Jesus, Luis, Francisco, Miguel, Jorge, Pedro, Raul, Ramon.

Dictionary of American Family Names, 2nd edition, © Oxford University Press, 2022.

How common is the last name Ortega in the United States?

Based on data from the Decennial U.S. Census, the surname Ortega has seen a significant increase in popularity over the years. In 2000, it was ranked as the 296th most common surname and by 2010, it had risen to the 239th position, indicating a change of 19.26%. The count of individuals with this surname also rose from 93,131 in 2000 to 127,256 in 2010, an impressive growth of 36.64%. Consequently, the proportion of individuals with the surname Ortega per 100,000 people increased by 24.97%, from 34.52 in 2000 to 43.14 in 2010.

Proportion per 100k34.5243.1424.97%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Ortega

Investigating the ethnic identity associated with the surname Ortega, according to the Decennial U.S. Census, shows that it is predominantly Hispanic. In 2000, 91.83% of those bearing the surname identified as Hispanic, a proportion that increased to 93.11% in 2010. In comparison, other ethnic identities associated with the name saw decreases during the same period. Individuals identifying as White decreased from 5.69% to 4.77%, while those identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander, Black, and American Indian and Alaskan Native decreased to 1.15%, 0.29%, and 0.43% respectively. The number of individuals identifying with two or more races also dropped, from 0.43% in 2000 to 0.25% in 2010.

Asian/Pacific Islander1.1%1.15%4.55%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.62%0.43%-30.65%
Two or More Races0.43%0.25%-41.86%

Ortega ancestry composition

23andMe computes an ancestry breakdown for each customer. People may have ancestry from just one population or they may have ancestry from several populations. The most commonly-observed ancestry found in people with the surname Ortega is Spanish & Portuguese, which comprises 40.8% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are Indigenous American (29.0%) and British & Irish (10.1%). Additional ancestries include French & German, Italian, Senegambian & Guinean, Eastern European, and Filipino & Austronesian.

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Spanish & Portuguese40.8%
Indigenous American29.0%
British & Irish10.1%

Possible origins of the surname Ortega

Your DNA provides clues about where your recent ancestors may have lived. Having many distant relatives in the same location suggests that you may all share common ancestry there. Locations with many distant relatives can also be places where people have migrated recently, such as large cities. If a large number of individuals who share your surname have distant relatives in a specific area, it could indicate a connection between your surname and that location, stemming from either recent ancestral ties or migration.

Based on 23andMe data, people with last name Ortega have recent ancestry locations all within Mexico.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Nuevo Leon, Mexico61.70%
Zacatecas, Mexico61.70%
Chihuahua, Mexico61.70%
Veracruz, Mexico61.70%
Coahuila, Mexico61.70%

What Ortega haplogroups can tell you

Haplogroups are genetic population groups that share a common ancestor on either your paternal or maternal line. These paternal and maternal haplogroups shed light on your genetic ancestry and help tell the story of your family.

The top paternal haplogroup of people with the surname Ortega is R-P311, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-P311 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include Q-M3 and J-CTS5368, which are predominantly found among people with East Asian & Indigenous American and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Sanchez, Salazar, Ruiz, Herrera, Garcia, Gutierrez, Moreno, Torres, Castillo, Rodriguez.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Ortega surname are: A2, H, B2. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.

ortegaPaternal Haplogroup Origins R-M343

Your maternal lineage may be linked to some of the first Americans

Though the Ice Age was beginning to retreat when your A2 ancestors first entered North America, there were still massive barriers blocking their way. Glaciers and inhospitable climate covered much of the continent, blocking entry into the interior. Nonetheless, researchers have found evidence that a wave of American founders migrated over 13,000 kilometers to reach southern Chile in only 2,000 years, a blink of an eye in the story of human migration! Their highway to the south was the coast of the Pacific, stocked with fish, diverse marine mammals, and other valuable resources in the rich kelp forests of the upper latitudes and in the abundant fresh-water rivers near the equator. Because of this rapid movement south, the A2 haplogroup and its diverse branches are found throughout North and South America.

Maternal Haplo Image

What do people with the surname Ortega have in common?

Spoiler alert: it's complicated. People with the same last name are usually no more genetically similar than a randomly sampled group of people from the same population. That said, people with the same surname are more likely to have similar ancestries than randomly sampled individuals. The reason is the tendency of people with similar cultural or geographical backgrounds to preferentially mate with one another. That's why people who share a surname may be more likely to share traits and tendencies in common than people within the general population. Check out the percentages below to see the prevalences of tastes, habits, and traits of people with your surname compared with prevalences among 23andMe users.



Chocolate Ice Cream

Prefers chocolate flavored ice cream over other flavors.

"Ortega" Surname 37.8%

23andMe Users 41.3%




When sounds made by others, like the sound of chewing or yawning, provoke strong emotional reactions in an individual.

"Ortega" Surname 36.9%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Ortega" Surname 20.9%

23andMe Users 21.1%




A severe headache characterized by intense pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and often accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

"Ortega" Surname 16.9%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Ortega?

The short answer is that, if there is an association between surname and health, it's usually more about your ancestry than your name. Individuals with a given surname are no more genetically similar than the general population but often have similar ancestries. The populations of people associated with those shared ancestries often have sets of genetic variations, also known as alleles, in common. Some of those alleles are associated with a greater likelihood of developing certain diseases.

Disease variant frequency by ancestry

Disease allele frequencies in populations associated with the surname Ortega are shown below. Important Note: not everyone with a disease allele will develop these health condition

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Y402H variant

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss among older adults. The disease results in damage to the central part of the retina (the macula), impairing vision needed for reading, driving, or even recognizing faces. The 23andMe Health + Ancestry DNA test includes the two most common variants associated with an increased risk of developing the condition: the Y402H variant in the CFH gene and the A69S variant in the ARMS2 gene. Learn more about Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Spanish & Portuguese 56.3%

23andMe Users 57.2%